ST. LOUIS (AP) — A white former police officer was acquitted Friday in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith who was fatally shot following a high-speed chase, and hundreds of demonstrators streamed into the streets of downtown St. Louis to protest the verdict that had stirred fears of civil unrest for weeks.
Ahead of the acquittal, activists threatened civil disobedience if Jason Stockley were not convicted, including possible efforts to shut down highways. Barricades went up last month around police headquarters, the courthouse where the trial was held and other potential protest sites. Protesters were on the march within hours of the decision. By mid-afternoon, officers had used pepper spray on some demonstrators.
The judge who decided the matter declared that he would not be swayed by “partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism.”
Best, concise #JasonStockley thread you’ll read today. Start here https://t.co/mAAbLzpqKC
— Search4Swag (@search4swag) September 15, 2017
The case played out not far from the suburb of Ferguson, which was the scene of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who was killed by a white police officer in 2014. That officer was never charged but eventually resigned.
Stockley, who was charged with first-degree murder, insisted he saw Smith holding a gun and felt he was in imminent danger. Prosecutors said the officer planted a gun in Smith’s car after the shooting. The officer asked the case to be decided by a judge instead of a jury.
Forceful, pained statement from @RepMikeButler in response to #jasonstockley not guilty verdict https://t.co/QAljzNwVPd pic.twitter.com/nZkLDfDgFJ
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) September 15, 2017
“This court, in conscience, cannot say that the State has …read more